Ealing Studios and The King’s Speech financier Prescience has merged their respective sales arms. The companies previously worked together on both St. Trinian’s films, Dorian Gray and Easy Virtue. They say combining gives them “a unique advantage,” because of the money that Prescience brings to the table. They also said no jobs will be lost in the consolidation. “The beauty of this merger is that we now have access to Prescience’s money,” says Will Machin, Ealing’s head of distribution. Machin will run Ealing Metro. “There are very few companies in the indie marketplace that can offer what we can now.” Prescience has raised around $250 million to date through its Aegis Film Fund and Metropolis Media EIS tax fund. Ealing Metro will offer equity, gap financing and in some cases will put up minimum guarantee advances against international sales, the money that gets films rolling. The plan is to handle 10-15 films a year, with Machin working alongside with Natalie Brenner and James Scott.
Ealing Metro’s current slate includes upcoming productions Better Living Through Chemistry, which stars Jeremy Renner and Jennifer Garner and shoots in July; the Iain Softley-directed psychological thriller Trap For Cinderella, which stars Tuppence Middleton and Alexandra Roach; and the Nina Simone biopic Nina, which stars Mary J Blige and David Oyelowo, and starts production May 23.
In the new structure, Ealing managing director James Spring and Prescience managing director Tim Smith will be joint CEOs. Ealing boss Barnaby Thompson and Prescience production head Paul Brett will also sit on Ealing Metro’s board. Machin tells me: “It’s crucial that distributors know that we’re bringing the best projects to the indie market. This deal means we’ll have a bigger and more diverse slate, ranging from bigger-budget thrillers to arthouse films. I hope this merger puts us on the same level as the biggest sales operations.”